Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hazel by Bob Dylan

I've acknowledged many times that Bob Dylan doesn't have a great voice.

It doesn't matter to me, because he happens to be a great musician who composes great songs.

Part of the power of Dylan's music is how he plumbs the depths of human experience and expresses it in often memorable ways, lyrically and musically.

This song is on Planet Waves, the same LP that features Forever Young (both versions). Hazel is really simple. But even here, Dylan expresses what may be universal yearnings, in this case the yearnings of every man contemplating the one he thinks may be the woman of his life or of every woman considering the one she suspects is the man of her life.

Dylan doesn't idealize the physical here, but the woman herself. He starts:
Hazel, dirty blonde hair
I wouldn't be ashamed to be seen with you anywhere
I think it's true that when we look for mates, we look for people who won't shame us in public or among the other's friends or ours, among our families or theirs.

We look for someone we know that we would never shame because of, not just our love for them, but also our respect for them.

The other lines that particularly strike me, though I love the lyrics of the entire song, come in the bridge:
Oh no, I don’t need any reminders 
To know how much I really care 
But it’s just making me blinder and blinder 
Because I’m up on a hill and still you’re not there
To me, these are the words of someone who may have achieved success, who is applauded by others for a job well-done. He or she is "up on a hill." But it means nothing because, as Dylan says to the one he loves, "still you're not there." 

God made us for relationship. Not all are called to be married. But for those who are, the simple aspirations of a potential husband looking for in a wife or a potential wife looking for a husband. 

Not perfection. 

Not a blind admirer. 

But someone whose love and respect honors and humbles and inspires and comforts us. 

Someone we want to honor, inspire, comfort and respect. 

Someone willing to go in the same direction in which we're going. 

Someone we care about so much that when they call, we'll show up.

Someone to whom we're committed and who will be committed to us.

Someone who changes us with just a little touch of their love.

This is a great love song.

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